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Showing posts with label Niellucciu. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Niellucciu. Show all posts

23 April 2012

Corsica: Domaine de Granajolo, Porto-Vecchio

Looking at this post scribbled back in 2007, when I first/last tasted Granajolo's wines, I was obviously a little disappointed, in them and Corsica as a whole. I had the chance to catch up with owner / winegrower Gwenaele Boucher a couple of months ago at this year's Millésime Bio organic wine show in Montpellier - meaning their vineyards are, since 1987 officially although ma and pa Monika and André worked their 20 hectares in this way from the start apparently - and tried the latest vintages from her range. And the verdict this time? Quite the opposite: I was very keen on four out of five; I didn't go for their supposedly top red "Le J", which was over-oaked and lacking in charm unlike the other wines.
Originally, like many simple grape growers at that time, Gwenaele's parents were members of a co-op, followed by an interim stint where someone else made the wines; and it wasn't until after she took over the estate that they built their own cellar, in operation since 2003. Their vineyards are found on the stark granite hillsides lying around Sainte-Lucie de Porto-Vecchio in the southeastern corner of the island (if it really has a southeast corner: look on a map and you'll see what I mean...). Anyway, it's certainly a very beautiful corner of a must-visit island if you haven't been before. These wine-lands are mostly planted with local varieties Niellucciu (related to Sangiovese), Sciaccarellu and Vermentinu (aka Vermentino, Rolle [probably] or Malvoisie de Corse, which is supposedly related to Malvasia but not to what the French otherwise call Malvoisie; clicking on the latter variety name on Wikipedia actually redirects you to Pinot Gris! I think I'll stop there as it's getting very confusing...)

All from the Corse-Porto-Vecchio appellation:
2011 tradition white (Vermentino) - juicy banana-scented fruit, concentrated vs crisp palate with aromatic fruit and rounded texture; very nice dry white.
2011 tradition rosé (Sciaccarellu) - lovely juicy fruit and mouth-feel with elegant touches, tasty quaffing rosé yet serious enough to go with a variety of foods. Good stuff.
2009 tradition red (Niellucciu) - quite browny-red in colour and mature showing delicious liquorice vs savoury notes, very ripe with 'tar' like tones too vs wild herb edges; enticing 'sweet/savoury' combo to finish, lovely style and drinking well now. Very good.
2009 Monika red (Niellucciu + Syrah) - again has its attractive ripe and aromatic 'garrigue' side with smoky notes, soft tasty palate with dry grip vs rounded texture; nice stylish Med red.
2009 Le J red (Niellucciu + Syrah) - a little vanilla and sweet coconut heavy and the tannins are quite wood-grainy.

More organic Corsican wines and people to follow...

01 February 2007

Organically focused on Corsica: Abbatucci & Granajolo

Corsica was one of my three main themes to stay organically focused at the Millésime Bio 2007 showcase, held in Narbonne (Languedoc) a few days ago (the other two were Alsace and Tuscany: that link takes you to the other two-thirds of the wines on WineWriting.com). Read my reports on Millésime Bio 2006 and 2005 for a slightly less eclectic selection of wines and comments on organic viticulture. Plus winners (honoured or should've been) and views from last year's Signature Bio competition.


Okay, there were only two estates from Beauty Island at the MB show - maybe the only ones farmed organically? - so hardly representative. Domaine Comte Abbatucci is now run according to biodynamic principles: whatever the methods, it's recognised as one of the best producers, which I agree with wholeheartedly. Jean-Charles Abbatucci has been experimenting with 18 previously vanished Corsican varieties with some interesting results - see my notes on his 2006 white vat samples. And his red Faustine blend is delicious: he had three different vintages at the tasting.
On the other hand, Domaine de Granajolo perhaps exemplifies the disappointment I've felt before with Corsican wines - admittedly it's been a few years since I've been there though. Or their reds at least, which lack real ripeness and generosity. I'm not sure why: are the varieties planted in the wrong sites or the growing techniques unsuitable or do they just pick too early? Either way, when will Corsica as a whole fulfil what appears to be such great potential? While you're mulling over these cumbersome questions, enjoy the wines:

Comte Abbatucci - Casalabriva

2006 Vermentinu (tank sample) - nice concentration v aromatic fruit, zesty v ripe and rounded; unusual. 87-89
2006 rosé (tank sample: Barbarossa Sciacarellu) - floral redcurrant, very zesty with nice extract and fresh length. 87-89
2006 white blend 1 (I didn't write the grape names down and couldn't find them on their website) - banana and peach notes lead to a creamy concentrated palate and fresh length; interesting. 87+
2006 white blend 2 - zesty extract v rich fruit, quite yeasty at the moment yet should be good. 87+
2005 cuvée Faustine, Ajaccio AOC (Sciacarellu Niellucciu and a touch of old vine Carignan) - smoky ripe Italianesque raisin and liquorice fruit, soft fruity mouth-feel v quite firm and fresh, nice power v elegance. 89-91
2004 cuvée Faustine (Sciacarellu Niellucciu and a touch of old vine Carignan) - less smoky, more structured yet similar in character, nice grip v ripeness. 90-92
2003 cuvée Faustine (Sciacarellu Niellucciu and a touch of old vine Carignan) - more developed and complex on the nose, quite rich 'tar' tones v firm and fresh, power v lovely fruit. 92

By the way, if you're feeling well-off, you can drink Abbatucci's wines in Gordon Ramsay's London restaurants.

ABBATUCCI WINES TASTED PREVIOUSLY (biodynamic wines report May 2006).

Domaine de Granajolo - Ste Lucie de Porto-Vecchio

2005 blanc
, Corse Porto-Vecchio AOC - fresh perfumed and zesty with lemon and banana notes, tight steely finish. 87
2005 cuvée Monika rosé (Niellucciu) - nice creamy fruit showing toffee-like edges v tart raspberry flavours, weighty v appealing freshness. 87
2003 cuvée Monika rouge (Syrah Niellucciu) - herbal red pepper tones v rustic richness, tannins are a bit hard but this has more generous fruit than the two 04 reds I tried. 83-85

LATEST ON GRANAJOLO HERE (profile, 2009 reds and 2011 white and rosé...)


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Header image: Château de Flandry, Limoux, Languedoc. Background: Vineyard near Terrats in Les Aspres, Roussillon.